90WA - "The Non-Vintage Locations I-2 Italian Red Wine (also all 2012 fruit, but it can’t be called that because of the blend) is composed of Nero D'Avola and Negroamaro from Puglia, Barbera from Piedmont, and a small percentage of Sangiovese from Tuscany. It receives vinification in large oak and spends ten months in barrel prior to bottling. It displays more acidity than the French cuvee, along with notes of wild herbs, licorice, tomato skins, black olives, red and black currants, cherries, barbecue spice and burning embers. This serious, medium to full-bodied, tasty, distinctive wine can be consumed over the next several years.
I reviewed these Locations offerings from Dave Phinney of Orin-Swift Cellars last year, who is going against all conventional wisdom of vineyard and vintage dating wines. Terroirists will claim the devil has possessed Phinney, as his offerings from France, Italy and Spain are all blends from different sectors of each country. If you judge wines on how they taste and the degree of pleasure they offer, they are all incredible efforts. The three new cuvees I tasted are among the finest wine values one could hope to find. Moreover, there are 50,000 cases of each, no easy feat given the grapes Phinney has accessed and the quality he has turned out. As of now, Dave Phinney might be my "value winemaker of the year" candidate." - Robert Parker, the Wine Advocate, 90 points!
A blend of Nero d'Avola, Negroamaro, Barbera and Sangiovese.
The history of Orin Swift Cellars dates back to 1995 when on a lark, David Swift Phinney took a friend up on an offer and went to Florence, Italy to spend a semester "studying". During that time, he was introduced to wine, how it was made, and got hooked. A few more years of university led to graduation and eventually a job at Robert Mondavi Winery in 1997 as a temporary harvest worker. Deciding that if he was going to work this hard, it would eventually have to be for himself, so in 1998 he founded Orin Swift Cellars; Orin is his father's middle name and Swift is his mother’s maiden name. With two tons of Zinfandel and not much else, he spent the next decade making wine for others as well as himself and grew the company into a multinational brand that now includes 300 acres of vineyards in the Southwest of France. This international ambition has led to projects in Spain, Italy, Corsica, Argentina and other locations around the globe.